How Strength Can Help Surmount Stress

When stay at home orders due to COVID-19 were announced, many of us admit we thought by now this “thing” would be over. Here we are in mid-November, almost to Thanksgiving, and it is not “over.” Below are more stories from our Alexandria Wellness community about their strong(her) experience since the beginning of the pandemic.

Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter to learn about new exciting offerings for next year and check out our Virtual Small Groups with Lis to grab one of the last spots!



I remember Lis and I practicing gratefulness exercises each of our sessions, helping clients learn to breathe (through their noses!), talking about how our thoughts can be our worst enemies and that strength and community would get all of us through.


  • Ingre – “Consistency, sleep, and friends who motivate me to be a better version of myself.”


Every member of our Alexandria Wellness community is strong(her). Some even are, rightfully so, very proud of their accomplishments, as you’ll read below.



  • Julie  – “The AW community and its support, accountability, and fun. We cheer each other on, celebrate successes and share ideas for overcoming challenges. We like being stronger!”


At first, our crew of corporate, concierge, and virtual small group fitness members took the bold step to 1) find the location in their homes and time that worked with their new schedules, 2) set up their phones/iPads/computers most effectively 3) buy equipment 4) get used to being ‘watched’ on a computer screen.


  • Sarah – “The virtual personal training sessions with Alexandria Wellness have really helped me get strong during the pandemic. I love the made-for-me workouts!”


Second, by May, our concierge and small group fitness members who chose outdoor socially-distanced sessions moved between two schools, two parks, under the Woodrow Wilson bridge, and to a generous client’s office parking garage.


  • Joyce  – “When stay at home was ordered, I had been a concierge wellness client already for six months. I felt much better than I had for years. My main concern during COVID was to keep the emotional and physical strength I had worked so hard to earn. Not only did I keep my strength, I’ve grown stronger physically and emotionally during COVID. Within days of the stay at home, Alexandria Wellness quickly created an outdoor program that felt safe and I never missed a beat with my fitness or my wellness.” 


From March to late spring and into the summer, the outdoor socially-distanced crew changed locations four times. Yet, nothing stopped AW from focusing on one goal: strength and community.

AW members were determined to build strength so they could not only physically boost their immunity, they wanted to be able to withstand the emotional roller coaster ride of a global pandemic.


  • Liz – “For me, it was consistency, commitment, and a supportive community in AW that gave me something to look forward to each week. It was also a way to focus on a positive goal and self-care during a very uncertain time. Thanks to Lis and Adrien for all that you do to help make us strong.”



When we build physical strength, we learn how to get uncomfortable. Physical “discomfort” for a physical goal teaches the brain it has the capacity to get through challenges.

When we build physical strength, with it comes a sense of purpose for a goal or a new way of thinking.


  • Elizabeth  – “Morning sessions with Lis of Alexandria Wellness is my COVID lifesaver. Three times a week, I have scheduled time to focus on my health and wellness. I’ve maintained a virtual practice, which helps me organize my time and keep exercise in the forefront of my routine. The mental boost I get from my workout helps me frame my day and keeps me calm and ready for anything.”


When we build physical strength, we begin to realize there is a distinct relationship between physical and psychological strength. The correlation between psychological stress and physical stress have been well-documented and proven to be linked. They help – and hurt – each other.


  • Michaela – “Spending more time at home has helped me stay true to a regular daily schedule of eating, sleep, and exercise. I have also focused on planning my day in 15 to 30 minutes increments and creating a manageable daily to-do list.”


How we interpret circumstances around us matters, yet equally important is how you interpret the stories around you. We all have power over the words we use and how we think.


  • Jan – “One of just a few COVID upsides has been deepening my relationship with Adrien, Lis, and the AW Community. My core, glutes, and arms are stronger. I stand straighter. I sleep well at night and have the energy to accomplish my goals. I’m able to crawl on the ground with a toddler as well as hike up a mountain with young adults. But most importantly, my mind grew stronger. I understand which habits to stack so I stay grounded, patient, and kind. I snap less and offer gratitude more. Although not 100 percent consistent, that’s okay as I know it’s a journey and that AW will be there with me the rest of the way.”  



I cannot wait to share more stories with you over the next two weeks about Alexandria Wellness’s Strong(her) community. Sign up for our Lis’s amazing Virtual Sessions and Get Strong(her) yourself!!


  • The latest from Adrien
Adrien founded Fitness on the Run in 2004 out of her home after a successful career in policy and public affairs communications. After spending 15 years developing her own personal definition of wellness and watching thousands struggle with theirs, in January 2019 Adrien founded Alexandria Wellness, the home for the Concierge Wellness Program and Corporate Wellness with Adrien Cotton. Over the course of 15 years, “FOR” was home to more than 2,000 clients, 30 instructors, and hundreds of inspirational success stories. Adrien is now, more-than-ever, passionate about helping women view their fitness as a journey, not a quick fix. Adrien’s recipe for success herself has evolved from a rigid training plan of sweaty and heart pumping workouts to some days getting in her 10,000 steps, consciously breathing, her 7.5 hours of sleep, and her beloved 5-Minute Flow. Adrien believes the most important ingredient is making small changes for big results, even if it’s one new habit formed each month. Still passionate about fitness, Adrien’s clients appreciate her ability to make sessions seriously challenging without a “beat down,” a healthy mix of strength and metabolic (cardio) work and ultimately helping her clients gain real strength in mind and body. She believes we all benefit from being curious about our bodies and that change, or improvement, is within reach despite what your “inner voice” or others may tell you. Adrien is bubbling with excitement to help women learn the importance of a comprehensive approach to wellness, weight loss, and contentedness with yourself, and that every person has the right to feel good about themselves. Most days, you can find her helping clients with their wellness, listening to success stories, and bragging about her twin 13-year-old children and “fittest man in Alexandria” Bill Cotton. Adrien prides herself on her practice of mindfulness, meditation, and putting it all into perspective.

Alexandria Wellness offers achievable answers for anyone who is tired of chasing fitness and health without a clear plan, someone who has struggled and is not satisfied with their fitness and wellness or someone who is open to maximized healthful longevity and fitness along with healthful weight loss. Adrien and her team offer help with food guidance, body acceptance, sleep and stress issues, and insist you have fun along the way.

Schedule your free 30 minute consult here!

Alexandria Wellness
215 North Payne Street
Alexandria, VA 22314



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